If you’re constantly trying to build muscle during your workouts but are having trouble seeing results – chances are you’re not doing something right. In most cases, this means that you’re burning too many calories and not eating enough to balance the amount that you burn. It can also mean that your lifting techniques and workout methods need improvement. Regardless of your situation, it’s always frustrating when you can’t reach a goal that you set months ago. To help you build muscle, here are some of my favorite tips that you should consider implementing into your daily routine:
First, you should be eating every three hours. The science behind this is actually quite complex, but to put it simply: “If you don’t eat often enough, you can limit the rate at which your body builds proteins,” (Men’s Fitness, Muscle Building Tips). If you want to calculate your meals in more detail, you should take the amount of calories you need each day – which should be a little above average since you’re trying to gain weight in muscle and you’ll be working out quite often – and divide it by six. This way, you can gauge how many calories you should intake at each meal or mini-meal. I like to think of eating three meals each day, with two mini-meals in-between. If you find that you’re pushing yourself to eat – try drinking a protein shake (just watch out for how much sugar is in it).
Next, eat ice cream two hours after your workout session. Of course, you shouldn’t do this every day, but twice a week will actually show some major benefits. An article published in Men’s Fitness notes, “According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this snack triggers a surge of insulin better than most foods do,” (Men’s Fitness, Muscle Building Tips). An insulin surge after a workout will help maintain the amount of protein your body is receiving, which will in turn help to build your muscles.
Drinking milk before bed can also help build your muscles more quickly. In fact, combining carbohydrates and protein will help reduce protein breakdown in your muscles while you sleep. Have a healthy snack like raisin bran with skim milk, or even yogurt with granola about thirty minutes before you go to bed, and you’ll not only satisfy your hunger, but you may even notice that you wake up feeling hungry – which means your metabolism is very healthy (and you can eat a protein-fueled, hearty breakfast!).
Lastly, pay attention to your lifting schedule and which muscles you are working out when you’re at the gym. You should be lifting every other day because your muscles grow when you’re resting – not during the workout. According to Men’s Fitness, “Studies show that a challenging weight workout increases protein synthesis for up to 48 hours immediately after your exercise session,” (Men’s Fitness, Muscle Building Tips). In addition, you should focus on working your biggest muscles, especially if you’ve been lifting for a long time. Large muscle groups, like the back, legs, and chest, will build the most muscle in the least amount of time.
Overall, the most important thing you can do when you’re trying to build muscle is commit to a routine. This routine should incorporate an adequate amount of muscle-building exercises, along with healthy, protein-filled eating habits so that you can get the body you’ve been working so hard for.